Megadeth have scheduled a spring 2022 release date for their sixteenth studio album, The Sick, the Dying… and the Dead! And in a new interview, frontman Dave Mustaine reveals that the follow-up to 2016’s Dystopia has been inspired by the various plagues and pandemics which have taken their toll upon humanity throughout history.
Interviewed for the November/December issue of American Songwriter magazine, Mustaine reveals that the album’s title track references both the Black Death, the bubonic plague which killed up to a third of Europe’s population in the mid 1300s, and the Great Plague of London, which killed approximately 100,000 residents of the capital, one quarter of its population, across 1665 and 1666. The same topics inspired Ghost’s Rats, the first single from Prequelle.
Mustaine, who manages to navigate the interview without mentioning the exit, during the album sessions, of bassist David Ellefson, says that some of his new songs feature riffs he has archived for years.
“A brand new song can be made up of something I wrote when I was 15 or 55,” he says. “If it’s a good riff, I'll save it.”
Megadeth have yet to reveal a full-time replacement for David Ellefson, who was fired in May. For his part, Ellefson says he’s “disappointed… but not bitter” about his sacking. Speaking with US metal media personality Eddie Trunk, the bassist said: "There's not ill will between us, believe it or not… I wished them well in my [original] statement to them, and I mean it. It's a group I helped form almost 40 years coming up here for the band. And the songs that are on the radio that I see come up are songs that I had a participation in, and we built a big legacy. I still consider them family, and my DNA is all over that. I don't think you build something of that size together and then suddenly you're just out and that's it."
Ellefson has since launched a new band, The Lucid, which features former Sponge vocalist Vinnie Dombroski, ex-Bang Tango guitarist Drew Fortier and ex-Fear Factory drummer Mike Heller alongside the bassist. The quartet’s self-titled debut album is out now.